Flamenco Mexicano (1987) [22:54]
4 Guitars, 3 Percussion, String Bass
Publisher: Soundlib Press
Recording: McCarty: GUITARS
The first movement is based upon pattern-repetition using many flamenco guitar techniques; each guitarist also has a short cadenza. The percussionists supply hand-claps and foot-stomps. The second movement, in the mariachi style, employs xylophone, marimba and latin-percussion instruments. It is best if the guitars are amplified for this piece so as to balance the percussion and add overall "bite" to the sound of this dramatic and fiery composition.
FLAMENCO MEXICANO, as the title suggests, is based upon Latino sources, both from Europe and the New World. Impetus for the work came both from its commission by the Piedmont (NC) Classic Guitar Society - and from its premiere performance (July 7, 1987) by my friends at the Eastern Music Festival. While it may seem strange for an American composer of Irish descent to use such materials, the style of this piece represents a rather large portion of my output - works which may be characterized as "trans-ethnic" compositions (a term coined by Lou Harrison). My interests in this approach reflect an attitude which contrasts with that held by many of my composer-colleagues, most of whom write "their own" music. For me, composition is the discovery and manipulation of a wide variety of musical resources. Each of my pieces has an individualistic cast and requires me to learn a whole new set of compositional rules.
The first movement employs many of the sounds and musical techniques associated with the traditional Andalusian Flamenco style. These materials are used, however, as the basis for a set of massive and abstract sound-structures which evolve in rhythm and timbre as the piece progresses. The result, I must admit, is rather nasty, but it is certainly characteristic of the ethos associated with the Spanish gypsies. I have often characterized the movement as "Varese meets Jose Greco."
In happy contrast, the second movement is rooted in the much less intense Mariachi style. Mexican food, beer and music were important aspects of my own culture, for I grew up in Southern California. This piece was written with nostalgic memories of many late afternoons spent escaping the sun in some patio or cantina.